Toyota backs world’s first hydrogen ship on its world tour

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 03 Jul 2018

After a successful partnership in France in 2017, Toyota has extended its support to the Energy Observer, the first hydrogen-powered ship, on the next step of its global voyage. The Energy Observer is the first autonomous hydrogen vessel that emits no greenhouse gases or fine particles. This electrically propelled vessel of the future is powered by a combination of renewable energies and a system that produces carbon-free hydrogen from seawater.

Launched in 2017 in Saint-Malo (France), Energy Observer is more than just a boat, as it showcases technologies that will support tomorrow’s energy networks to make them efficient and applicable on a large scale. The Energy Observer team will promote this model, based on a mix of renewable energy sources and energy storage, on a worldwide tour.

This six-year journey is both a human and technological challenge to test on-board technology in extreme conditions and to navigate the first energy autonomous boat around the globe. The crew will be led by Victorien Erussard and Jérôme Delafosse.

Toyota and its connect with hydrogen
Hydrogen is at the very heart of the Energy Observer project, which is why Toyota Motor Europe says it is associating with the project. The hydrogen-powered vessel has a considerable weight advantage (50 percent of the displacement of the ship) when compared to an exclusive battery storage solution. In terms of energy storage, hydrogen is also key to overcoming the issue of the intermittent supply of energy both on land and at sea.

After sailing in France in 2017, now in the Mediterranean and on to Northern Europe in 2019, Energy Observer aims to reach Tokyo in time for the Olympic Games in 2020. Victorien Erussard, founder and captain of Energy Observer said: “We are really excited to have Toyota Motor Europe on-board for this mission. We share the vision of hydrogen as the key for accelerating the energy transition, a vision that we wish to carry to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

Matt Harrison, vice-president of sales and marketing, Toyota Motor Europe, commented: “Energy Observer is an exciting initiative and we at Toyota Motor Europe are delighted to be associated with such a passionate and dedicated team. This project once again demonstrates the many practical uses of hydrogen that can be developed as we transition towards a Hydrogen Society.”


Toyota has been pioneering hydrogen technology for the last 20 years, carrying out considerable testing in demanding conditions to ensure hydrogen can work as a practical fuel alternative. Hydrogen allows for quick refuelling, a significant driving range and a great emission-free driving experience that is helping to power cars, like the Toyota Mirai, as well as buses, trucks and even forklifts.

Also read:

Toyota to expand mass-production of fuel cell stacks and hydrogen tanks with two new facilities

Toyota accelerates use of hydrogen at Motomachi Plant

Toyota, Nissan, Honda in 11-firm Japanese consortium to accelerate deployment of hydrogen stations

Shell and Toyota move forward with hydrogen facility for freight at Port of Long Beach

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